The Purpose of Your Retainer
As the name indicates, a retainer helps retain the alignment of your teeth after they have been positioned from braces or clear aligners. Retainers do not align teeth or correct improper alignment; they just help maintain the current position of the teeth.
A retainer is a necessary step after braces or clear aligners (ClearCorrect®), otherwise, all the time and patience of your alignment therapy could be lost. Your teeth want to slowly return to their original position, so retainers help prevent relapse.
Taking Care of Your Retainer
You should regularly just like you do your teeth. If a retainer sits in your mouth, it’s going to collect the same things that build up on your teeth: plaque and tartar.
Be sure to clean your retainer daily with a cleaning solution like Efferdent or soap and water. Do not use toothpaste as a cleaner for your retainer because it can be abrasive.
Different Types of Retainers
Not everyone will have the same type of retainer. These are the :
The Essix (Clear) Retainer
This retainer fits over your teeth like a shell. It’s clear so you can barely notice it!
The Hawley Retainer
These retainers have an acrylic piece that rests on your palate with a metal wire that wraps around your teeth. For those needing a Hawley Retainer, there are a lot of color options you can choose from to personalize it.
The Bonded Retainer
This is a retainer that does not get removed from your mouth unless your dentist is changing it. The bonded retainer is a metal wire that gets secured with a dental adhesive to the back of your teeth.
This is not exactly a retainer option, but a night guard is something that can help if you suffer from bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding. A custom made night guard can act as both a retainer and protect the teeth from grinding together.
This variation can fall in the retainer category if you are missing a permanent tooth. A retainer can be made to hold in a replacement tooth and keep your other teeth from closing in on the gap. We will make sure you get a retainer that best fits your needs to keep you smiling.
A retainer is something you will have to wear for life, otherwise, your teeth will shift back to their original state. But, the amount of wear time each day/week may vary.
Initially, after your orthodontic treatment, you will have to wear your retainer around the clock, except while eating. Over time, how long you need to wear your retainer each day becomes less and less as directed by your dentist
It’s important to wear your retainer as scheduled to prevent your teeth from displacing. If you lose or break your retainer, you should contact your dentist immediately to get a new one. This is to make sure your teeth have not shifted too much and require further treatment.
Request an Appointment
If you are in need of clear aligner braces, or a new retainer, feel free to request an appointment online or by phone at (269) 381-3890 so we can help provide you with the smile you want. As your Kalamazoo, MI dentist, Dr. Stephanie Busch-Abbate is here to help you smile confidently.
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This blog post has been updated.